Keyword research

Keyword research: A Step-by-Step Guide

Keyword research is a foundational element of search engine optimization (SEO). It involves identifying popular words and phrases people enter into search engines, aiming to understand and leverage user behaviour for creating optimised content.

This process is pivotal for content creators and businesses seeking to align their content strategies with user needs and interests. By focusing on the terms users are actively searching for, they can tailor their content to answer users’ queries effectively, driving user engagement and satisfaction.

Mastering keyword research is more than just identifying relevant keywords. It also involves a comprehensive analysis and prioritisation of these keywords based on multiple factors. These factors include search volume, competition, and user intent, each playing a crucial role in determining the effectiveness of the chosen keywords.

When done correctly, keyword research can significantly enhance online visibility and drive more organic traffic to the website or online platform. It is a vital cornerstone for SEO success, creating a robust foundation for any SEO strategy and enabling content creators and businesses to reach their target audience more effectively.

Why is keyword research important?

Keyowrd research for digital marketing

Keyword research is paramount, serving as the backbone of any successful SEO strategy. It is essential for securing higher ranks on search engine results pages (SERPs) and drawing more organic traffic. By understanding the terms and phrases prospective customers employ to seek out products or services, businesses and content creators can effectively optimise their content and advertising endeavours. This optimization makes the content not only more visible but also more relevant and valuable to users, addressing their specific needs and resolving their queries.

The profound insights derived from effective keyword research extend beyond improving search rankings; they reveal market trends and consumer behaviours, allowing for strategic and informed business decisions. By improving online presence and enhancing user interaction, businesses can enjoy elevated conversion rates and, subsequently, increased revenues. Ultimately, keyword research is a holistic approach to understanding and addressing user needs and is integral to achieving overall business objectives.

Marketing Trend

Marketing trend insight is crucial for businesses and marketers seeking to stay ahead in a rapidly evolving marketplace. It refers to the process of analysing and leveraging current market trends to formulate more effective and adaptive marketing strategies. By staying abreast of the latest developments, changes in consumer behaviour, and emerging technologies and platforms, marketers can identify new opportunities and potential areas for innovation.

This insight allows for the creation of marketing campaigns that resonate more with the target audience, improving engagement, brand perception, and ultimately, the bottom line. In an era where consumer preferences and digital landscapes are in constant flux, having a deep understanding of marketing trends is indispensable for maintaining relevance and competitive edge.


Traffic growth is a crucial metric for any online entity seeking to expand its reach and impact. It refers to the increase in the number of visitors to a website or users of an online platform over a specific period. Achieving consistent traffic growth is paramount for enhancing online visibility, brand recognition, and user engagement. It serves as a precursor to lead generation and conversion, impacting revenue and business sustainability directly.

Strategies to spur traffic growth encompass SEO optimization, content marketing, social media engagement, and targeted advertising, each tailored to appeal to the intended audience’s preferences and needs. In the dynamically evolving digital landscape, cultivating traffic growth is synonymous with fostering brand success and longevity.

Target persona and acquisition

Customer acquisition is a critical component in the lifeblood of any business, referring to the strategies and processes employed to attract and convert prospects into paying customers. This involves understanding the needs and behaviours of potential customers and creating value propositions that resonate with them. Efficient customer acquisition strategies are those that effectively balance cost with value, aiming to optimise the cost per acquisition while maximising the lifetime value of a customer.

This often involves leveraging a mix of marketing channels, from digital advertising and content marketing to SEO and email campaigns, to reach prospects at different stages of the buying journey. In a competitive marketplace, a thoughtful and adaptive approach to customer acquisition is crucial for sustaining business growth and profitability.

Topics vs Keywords

Understanding the difference between keywords and topics is fundamental in content creation and SEO strategy. Keywords are specific words or phrases that users type into search engines when looking for information, products, or services. They are the building blocks for creating content that is both relevant and searchable.

In contrast, topics are the broader themes or subjects under which related keywords are categorised. While keywords are essential for optimising individual pieces of content for search engines, focusing on topics allows content creators to address the audience’s needs and interests more holistically. By developing content around broader topics, creators can provide more comprehensive and valuable information, enhancing user engagement and satisfaction. Balancing the focus between specific keywords and overarching topics is crucial for creating content that is not only SEO-friendly but also user-centric and informative.

Best way to do Keyword Research

Keywords for SEO

Effective keyword research is a systematic approach aimed at discovering words and phrases that potential customers are using to find products or services online. This methodology begins with identifying seed keywords related to the business or content. These seed keywords serve as the foundation for expanding and refining the list of potential keywords by exploring related terms, synonyms, and variations.

The next step in this methodology involves analysing the selected keywords based on various factors such as search volume, competition, and user intent. Tools like Google Keyword Planner or Ahrefs can provide invaluable insights into these metrics, helping marketers assess the viability and potential impact of each keyword. This analysis allows for prioritisation of keywords, focusing on those with high relevance and low competition to optimise the chances of ranking higher in search engine results pages (SERPs).

Finally, the implementation phase involves integrating the chosen keywords into the content, metadata, and other on-page SEO elements effectively. Continual monitoring and adjustment of keyword strategies are also crucial, as market conditions, competition, and user preferences evolve over time, necessitating adaptability and refinement in keyword choices and utilisation.

Strategies Keywords

Implementing keywords effectively is essential for achieving SEO success. The first strategy involves incorporating the selected keywords organically within the content, ensuring that it reads naturally and provides value to the reader. This involves placing keywords in the title, headers, and throughout the body of the content while maintaining coherence and relevance. Striking a balance is key; keyword stuffing can lead to penalties from search engines and diminish user experience.

The second strategy focuses on the technical aspects of SEO, including placing keywords in meta titles, meta descriptions, and alt tags. This not only helps in improving the page’s SEO but also enhances the visibility of the content in search engine results pages (SERPs). It’s crucial to optimise each element carefully to accurately reflect the content and attract the target audience, ensuring that every implemented keyword serves a purpose and contributes to the overall SEO goals of the webpage.

Lastly, continual analysis and optimization are pivotal. Monitoring the performance of the implemented keywords provides insights into their effectiveness and informs any necessary adjustments or refinements. This involves keeping abreast of changes in search engine algorithms, user behaviour, and market trends, and adapting the keyword strategy accordingly to maintain high relevance and competitiveness in the constantly evolving digital landscape.

The always changing SEO Practices

The SEO landscape is constantly evolving, driven by advancements in technology, changes in search engine algorithms, and shifting user behaviours and expectations. This continuous evolution has a profound impact on SEO practices, necessitating marketers and content creators to stay informed and adapt their strategies to maintain visibility and competitiveness. The emergence of new trends, such as voice search and mobile-first indexing, exemplifies the dynamic nature of SEO and the importance of aligning practices with current developments to meet user needs effectively.

In response to these changes, the focus of SEO has shifted from primarily keyword-centric approaches to more holistic strategies emphasising user experience, content relevance, and quality. This transformation underscores the significance of creating valuable, user-friendly content that satisfies user intent, alongside the technical aspects of SEO. Integrating both elements ensures that content not only ranks well in search engine results pages (SERPs) but also resonates with and retains the target audience.

Furthermore, evolving SEO practices impact how businesses approach online presence and brand building. The emphasis is increasingly on building a robust online reputation through authentic engagement, transparent communication, and the provision of solutions that address user needs and preferences. This shift demands a more nuanced and integrated approach, combining SEO with other digital marketing disciplines to create cohesive and effective online strategies capable of navigating the complexities of the modern digital ecosystem.

Keyword Research most important elements

1. Relevance

In the context of SEO and content marketing, relevance refers to how closely aligned a piece of content is to the needs, interests, and intent of the user. It is a crucial factor determining the success of content in attracting and retaining the audience. Content that is highly relevant to the user will not only rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs) but will also encourage user engagement, as it provides the answers or solutions the user is seeking. Achieving high relevance requires a deep understanding of the target audience, including their behaviours, preferences, and pain points, and crafting content that addresses these aspects effectively.

Furthermore, relevance is not static; it evolves with changes in user expectations, market trends, and industry developments. As such, maintaining relevance requires continual assessment and refinement of content strategies, staying informed about the latest trends and user needs, and being responsive to feedback. By prioritising relevance, content creators and marketers can build stronger connections with their audience, enhance brand loyalty, and drive conversion, ensuring sustained growth and success in the digital landscape.

2. Volume

In SEO, “volume” typically refers to keyword volume, signifying the number of times a particular keyword or phrase is searched for within a specific timeframe. High volume keywords are those that are frequently searched, indicating a higher level of interest or demand among users. Targeting high volume keywords can potentially drive substantial traffic to a website, making them highly valuable in content creation and SEO strategies. However, high search volume often corresponds with high competition, making it challenging to rank well for these keywords, especially for newer or smaller websites.

Consequently, while high volume can indicate opportunities, it’s crucial to balance it with relevance and competition when optimising content. Using a combination of high and low volume keywords, or long-tail keywords, can help in creating a diversified strategy that attracts a broad audience while also targeting niche segments. This approach allows for better alignment with user intent, improved content visibility, and, ultimately, higher conversion rates, enabling businesses to maximise the benefits of their SEO efforts effectively.

Research Keywords for SEO

Constructing an effective SEO strategy begins with thorough keyword research, and a methodical approach is imperative. 

Step 1 involves creating a list of vital, relevant topics rooted in your business knowledge. These topics act as buckets that represent different aspects of your business and are based on the subjects your target audience is interested in. 

Step 2 is to populate these topic buckets with pertinent keywords, phrases that potential customers might use when searching for your products or services.

Step 3 is to comprehend how user intent impacts keyword research and to scrutinise your list accordingly. User intent represents the reason behind a user’s search, and understanding it allows you to refine your keywords to match what your audience is genuinely seeking. 

Step 4 involves researching related search terms. By exploring the queries related to your primary keywords, you can uncover additional opportunities to optimise your content and meet user needs more effectively.

Step 5 is leveraging keyword research tools. Utilise tools like Google Keyword Planner or Ahrefs to delve deeper into keyword insights, identify search volumes, competition, and related keywords, and to fine-tune your strategy. Each step in this process is crucial, working in tandem to develop a comprehensive, informed, and effective SEO strategy, driving your content to the forefront of search engine results and connecting more meaningfully with your audience.

How to Find and Choose Keywords for Your Business

Step 1. Use Keyword Planner

When refining your SEO strategy, using Google Keyword Planner as the initial step can significantly streamline your keyword list. This tool is instrumental in providing insights into the search volume and competition level of each keyword, enabling you to prioritise effectively.

By inputting your initially broad list of potential keywords into the Planner, you can receive data-driven feedback on which terms are likely to generate the most traffic and which are realistically rankable for your website. This process allows for a more focused and informed approach, ensuring that you allocate your resources to optimise for keywords that hold the most promise in terms of visibility and conversion. By meticulously scrutinising and trimming down your list using Google Keyword Planner, you lay down a robust foundation for a successful SEO strategy, positioning your content more favourably in the crowded digital landscape.

Step 2: Prioritise low competition keywords

After refining your keyword list using tools like Google Keyword Planner, the next step is to prioritise the low-hanging fruit — those keywords that present the easiest opportunities to achieve quick wins. These are typically terms with decent search volumes but lower competition, meaning there is a gap in the market that your content can fill.

By focusing initially on these more attainable targets, you can rapidly improve your site’s visibility and traffic without expending excessive resources on competing for highly contested keywords. This approach not only fosters quicker ROI but also aids in building your site’s authority and relevance, gradually equipping it to compete for more competitive terms. By strategically prioritising low-hanging fruit in your SEO strategy, you can optimise resource allocation and set the stage for sustained, incremental growth in your online presence.

Step 3: Check the monthly search volume for your keywords

Once you’ve pinpointed the low-hanging fruit in your keyword list, the subsequent step is to scrutinise the Monthly Search Volume (MSV) for each selected keyword. MSV represents the number of searches a keyword receives per month, providing insights into its popularity and potential to drive traffic.

By analysing the MSV, you can gauge the demand for particular terms and thus, prioritise keywords that are likely to yield the most significant impact on your website’s visibility and traffic. Selecting keywords with an optimal balance of high search volume and low competition is crucial, as it allows you to target terms that are not only in demand but also achievable in terms of ranking. This careful consideration of MSV ensures that your SEO efforts are directed towards the most lucrative opportunities, maximising the likelihood of elevating your online presence and driving conversions.

Step 4: Check for short and long-tail keywords

For a well-rounded and effective SEO strategy, step 4 involves ensuring that each of your keyword buckets contains a balanced mix of head terms and long-tail keywords. Head terms are usually shorter, more generic, and highly competitive keywords, often consisting of one or two words, while long-tail keywords are longer, more specific phrases that typically have lower competition and higher conversion rates. Including both types in your strategy enables you to cast a wider net, targeting a broader audience with head terms and reaching more niche, conversion-ready segments with long-tail keywords.

This balanced approach allows you to optimise your visibility across a range of searches, catering to users at different stages of the buying cycle and maximising opportunities for traffic and conversion.

By meticulously integrating a mix of head terms and long-tail keywords, you augment the versatility and efficacy of your SEO endeavours, paving the way for enhanced online success.

Step 5: Check your competitors

In the fifth step, understanding how your competitors are ranking for the selected keywords is pivotal. This involves analysing which keywords your competitors are targeting and how well they are performing in search engine results pages (SERPs) for those terms.

By conducting a competitive analysis, you can identify gaps in their strategies that you can exploit, as well as assess the level of difficulty in outranking them. Observing the keywords for which your competitors rank high can offer insights into the areas where they have established authority, and where you may need to bolster your efforts to compete effectively. Conversely, discovering areas where competitors are not performing well presents opportunities to fill the void and establish your presence. This step is crucial as it informs refinements in your SEO strategy, allowing for more informed and strategic decisions in targeting keywords, optimising content, and allocating resources, ultimately enhancing your prospects of SEO success.

Keyword Research Mistakes

In the intricate domain of SEO, even seemingly inconspicuous keyword research mistakes can have detrimental effects on your strategy’s efficacy. One common mistake is neglecting the significance of long-tail keywords, which, while less competitive, are often more aligned with user intent and can lead to higher conversion rates. Focusing solely on high-volume, competitive keywords may result in wasted resources and missed opportunities to connect with niche segments of your audience.

Another prevalent misstep is overlooking the continual evolution of user behaviour and search engine algorithms, leading to reliance on outdated or irrelevant keywords. This static approach can result in decreased visibility and engagement as the content fails to align with current user needs and preferences. Regularly updating and refining keyword lists is essential to maintain relevance and competitiveness in the ever-evolving digital landscape.

Lastly, many falter by not adequately considering user intent in their keyword research, focusing instead only on literal matches and search volumes. This narrow perspective can hinder the ability to create content that resonates with users, addressing their needs, questions, or problems effectively. Incorporating a deep understanding of why users are conducting searches allows for the development of more impactful and user-centric content, thereby optimising the chances of SEO success.

Top 9 Best Keyword Research Tools to Find the Right Keywords for SEO

1. SEMrush

  • Offers detailed keyword data, including volume, competition, and more, and allows you to analyse competitors’ sites.

2. Ahrefs Keywords Explorer

  • Provides in-depth keyword insights and suggestions, along with SERP overview and ranking history.

3. Moz Keyword Explorer

  • Offers keyword suggestions, SEO competition, and prioritisation features.

4. KWFinder

  • Great for finding long-tail keywords with low SEO competition.

5. UberSuggest

  • A versatile tool providing keyword suggestions, competitive data, and content ideas.

6. SpyFu

  • Excellent for researching competitors’ SEO keywords and ranking history.

7. AnswerThePublic

  • Visualizes search questions and suggested keywords, great for long-tail keyword research.

8. Soovle

  • Provides keyword suggestions from multiple sources, including Google, YouTube, and Amazon.

9. Google Trends

  • Shows the popularity of search queries over time, useful for identifying trending keywords.

Each of these tools has unique features and capabilities, so you might want to use a combination of them to get the most comprehensive insights for your SEO strategy. Check out our artickle about “Top free SEO tools“.

Keyword research stands as the cornerstone of SEO and digital marketing, acting as the navigational compass guiding online endeavors towards visibility, relevance, and engagement. It is a meticulous process that goes beyond mere word selection, delving into the realms of user intent, market trends, and competitive landscapes. When executed proficiently, keyword research unveils the linguistic pathways to heightened online presence and enriched user interaction, fostering the alignment between content and audience needs, preferences, and search behaviors.

Harnessing the power of advanced tools and analytics enables marketers and content creators to unearth high-value keywords that act as the conduits connecting user queries to apt solutions, thus elevating the brand’s digital footprint. A balanced approach, incorporating both head terms and long-tail keywords, augments the strategy’s reach and resonance, catering to a diversified audience spectrum and optimizing conversion potentials.

However, the dynamic nature of user behavior and search engine algorithms necessitates continual refinement and adaptation of keyword strategies to sustain relevance and competitiveness in the evolving digital milieu. Avoiding common pitfalls and maintaining an adaptive, informed, and user-centric approach is paramount to unlocking the full potential of keyword research and leveraging it as the catalyst for SEO success and business growth. In essence, mastering keyword research is synonymous with crafting a robust foundation for flourishing in the digital ecosystem, amplifying brand narratives, and fostering meaningful connections with the audience.

Check out our other articles on the topic:

How To Do Keyword Analysis with Free Keyword Tools.

Here is a comprehensive video for Exposure Ninja on “How to do keyword research dor SEO”: